When the disciples ask, “who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” Jesus surprises them by placing a child in their midst to indicate that children are the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
Why are children the greatest? It has nothing to do with any supposed moral superiority or purity or innocence that might be ascribed to children (often by people who are not parents). Rather, children are exalted by Jesus because they are powerless. And in the Gospels, Jesus is always on the side of the powerless: He says the first will be last and the last will be first (Matthew 19:30; 20:16); he blesses the poor in spirit and says the meek will inherit the earth (Matthew 5:3, 5); he eats with outcasts (Matthew 9:10-12); and says that sex slaves will enter the kingdom of God ahead of religious leaders and synagogue rulers (Matthew 21:31-32).
The world’s wisdom may say, “God helps those who help themselves,” but the biblical Jesus insists that God prioritizes the helpless.
This message is excerpted from the Bible study “The kingdom of God: Mysteries of the kingdom” by Mark Allan Powell in the January/February 2022 Gather magazine. Today we commemorate Matthew, apostle and evangelist.
You are invited to pray that traveling mercies accompany attendees as they leave home and arrive in Phoenix for the Just Love Gathering. Pray, too, for the presenters, worship leaders, staff, and crew as they bring to life the Just Love theme.
Copyright © 2023 Women of the ELCA. Inquiries for permission to reproduce should be directed to [email protected].